Ruley elected in O.B.

Town Hall project gets greenlight from voters.

Updated June 19

Voters elected political newcomer Ryan Ruley with 489 votes and Incumbent Brian Packish with 484 votes to the board of selectmen.

Ruley, a police officer in Edgartown, ran a campaign championing transparency.

“I think it’s clear that Oak Bluffs wanted change. I am just looking forward to getting started and learning more about the town,” Ruley said after results came in.

Ruley led the pack with Packish coming in second, while Santoro came in third with 355 votes and challenger Richard Weiss had 262.

Packish, a landscape company owner and real estate developer, has served on the board since 2017.

“At the end, today’s vote is a symbol that people heard my message the first time, supported it, and have agreed with it and decided to re-elect me. It’s a very humbling validation,” Packish said.

Santoro, who owns Oceanview, Fishbones, and Lookout Tavern in Oak Bluffs and Net Result in Vineyard Haven, has served on the board since 2011. In a phone conversation with The Times, Santoro said he was proud of the town’s accomplishments during his tenure.

“I’ll hold my head high,” Santoro said. “I’m not going away…I will still volunteer and serve on committees whenever I can.”

Santoro also congratulated Ruley on his win.

“He’s got a lot of energy and a lot of character,” Santoro said. “He’ll do well.”

The third time was the charm for the town hall project in Oak Bluffs as voters approved spending $13.4 million at the polls Thursday to renovate and reconstruct a new town hall.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the project 500-338, a stark contrast to only two years ago when voters decided 370-295 to deny spending $11.2 million on a new town hall after two rounds of bids on the project came in over budget.

Selectmen enlisted Icon Architecture to develop a design that uses the existing structure of the current town hall building and expands upon it, adding a new floor, completely redesigned department offices, new meeting rooms, and several other significant changes.

In 2017, town voters approved $9.8 million for a new town hall, but the following year, two separate bids for the project came in over budget, the last being as high as $11.1 million. A vote to approve an additional $1.3 million was shot down by voters at a special election in November 2018. 

This time around, the selectmen chose East Falmouth–based Dellbrook JKS as its construction manager at risk (CMAR). Dellbrook JKS worked with Icon Architecture to come up with the $13.4 million cost in advance of the annual town meeting on June 16. By having a CMAR, the town was able to establish a maximum project cost for voters to decide on.

The new town hall will cost the owner of a home valued at $600,000 an estimated $2,887 over 20 years, according to numbers released by the town. Construction is most likely to begin in October, with a completion date of September 2021.

“I am grateful they supported the town hall, it was time. I think it will be a solid addition to our town and for our staff,” Packish said.

In other election results, Robert Gaffey and Richard Weiss were reelected to the finance and advisory committee with 513 and 542 votes respectively along with challenger Sherry Countryman who had 448. Challenger Kerry Mark Leonard lost with 360 votes. 

Raymond Moreis Jr. was reelected as water district commissioner with 557 votes, beating out challenger Maura McGroarty who had 236 votes.

Here are the rest of the vote totals for unopposed races:

Town clerk – Colleen Morris: 750

Board of health – Thomas Zinno: 658

Park commissioner – Amy Billings: 736

Cemetery commissioner – John Victor Tiernan: 638

Constable – Maura McGroarty: 631

School committee – Kathryn Ann Shertzer: 641

Finance and advisory (one year term) – Maura McGroarty: 622

Planning board – Josephine “JoJo” Lambert: 682

Wastewater Commissioner – Gail Barmakian: 577

Isabel Gitten contributed to this report.

Updated to add comments from Santoro. — Ed.

2 COMMENTS

  1. And I have to add — so glad we have Colleen Morris as our Town Clerk. She was incredibly patient and helpful with my questions prior to election day.

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